Skin Cancer Screening FAQs
Congratulations for landing on this page! It probably means that you're thinking of making a potentially life-saving decision to get a skin cancer screening, and want to learn more about what to expect and how you can prepare.
Rest assured, we've prepared responses to all of the Frequently Asked Questions we receive from our clients.
Call 6239 5881
to book a full body skin screening appointment with Dr Andrew Morris
Before we begin, it's important to note that Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world. Two out of three people can expect to develop at least one skin cancer in their lifetime, including people with tanned or olive complexions. The sooner a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better your chance of avoiding surgery, potential disfigurement, or even death.
With that in mind, here is some more information about our full body computer-assisted skin cancer screening service at Morris Wellness
How long does the screening take?
Using our advanced skin screening computer, your moles can generally be photographed and mapped in approximately 15 minutes. Of course, some folk will have more skin lesions than others, and thus might take a couple of minutes longer. And if a skin cancer is detected, we will take the time necessary to carefully photograph it and explain the implications and management options.
Does it hurt?
No. The skin screening camera is applied gently to the skin to obtain a perfectly focused image at magnifications ranging from 15X to 120X. There are no needles!
Is it safe if I’m pregnant?
Absolutely. The device takes only highly magnified images of your skin, and doesn’t emit anything. Though your moles my change during pregnancy, it’s still important to examine them, just in case the changes are due to skin cancer.
Can I wear makeup or body lotion?
The power of the computer-assisted skin cancer screening comes from it’s ability to see skin lesions in great detail at higher magnifications. Make-up on the face effectively covers moles and other blemishes, with the result that it appears like a snowstorm on the screen! Body lotion is also best avoided, to optimize the clarity of the images obtainable. Fake tan, while it darkens some skin lesions, is permissible, and indeed is encouraged as an alternative to trying to go brown through prolonged sun exposure.
Do I need to completely undress for a skin screening?
Obviously, to give you peace of mind that your skin has been thoroughly checked for signs of skin cancer, it’s necessary that the doctor examine your skin carefully. However, breasts and genital areas are not examined routinely, unless you are concerned about a particular lesion, and request that it be checked.
Female patients may keep their bra and panties on, and are provided with a disposable gown to wear. Male patients generally strip down to their underwear.
How does the Visiomed computer system work?
By accurately imaging skin at higher magnifications, we can see structures that lie in the outer layers of the skin. This allows the doctor to gain an understanding of the nature of each skin lesion, and whether there is evidence of chaotic growth, as evidenced by the colours, textures and blood vessels seen. This is dermoscopy. Additionally, by placing a previously recorded image alongside the current image of the same mole, as only a computer can, subtle changes will be quickly detected by the doctor, indicating a potential skin cancer. The Visiomed system can also automatically “score“ a skin lesion, by putting it through a complex algorithm derived from a large European skin cancer study. This guides the doctor to consider a lesion more closely, should it be in the cancerous end of the spectrum.
Should I bother getting a skin screen if I have tanned or olive skin?
Having tanned, or olive skin, is a bit of a doubled edged sword. On the one hand, you may have never experienced the agony of sunburn, known only too well to folk with fair or Celtic skin types, on the other hand, because your skin might go a deeper tan from being in the sun, you will be tempted to stay longer uncovered. Thus, you may end up getting more damaging ultraviolet light exposure than someone who covers up sooner, as they know they are burning. Remember, melanomas occur in people with tanned or olive skin too.
How long will it take to receive my results?
The skin screen assessment is made while you’re being examined, so that results are known during your appointment. Should a lesion be considered suspicious, arrangements can be made to either re-check it by image comparison after a three month interval, or take a biopsy in the following days, or proceed to a full excision when an appointment can be arranged, either at Morris Wellness or through referral to the appropriate surgeon.
Can I claim the appointment on Medicare or private health insurance?
The fee for a skin screening is comprised of a consultation and an addition sum to cover the use of the Visiomed computer. Medicare will refund you a rebate for the consultation. Some private funds have covered the additional skin screening amount, as they rightly consider it part of a preventative health strategy. You should check with your private insurance fund to clarify their position on this.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call us on 6239 5881 or visit our website to learn more